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IP Market Updates
Read by over 12,000 professionals in the IP, business, and investment community.

July 17, 2017

Canadians do not like to brag about what they do; everyone knows that! (Being Canadian, the irony isn’t lost on me that I’m actually bragging a bit about this national trait 😊). So upon bidding its farewell to the international IP community after superbly hosting the 2017 edition of the IPBC Global a few weeks ago, Canada celebrated its 150th with, shall we say, discrete fanfare. But the best fireworks came from the courts days later when two major decisions were issued that could change the landscape and the way in which patent rights are enforced in Canada and potentially in North America.  Here is why: historically, Canada has been an afterthought when it came to applying for patents, let alone enforcing patent rights. Actually, many Canadian companies do not even bother filing their patents in Canada and have traditionally focused on securing a US patent only (and sometimes abroad) for their inventions. Canada’s market is only one tenth of the US and Canadian IP judges have never really followed the US trend of issuing large awards against patent infringers.

Well, all this changed overnight (10 days ago actually) when the Canadian Federal Court issued a half billion dollar damage award in favor of Dow Chemical against Nova Chemicals. This was by far the largest patent award issued in Canada and, since this was issued by the judge himself (there is no jury trial for patent cases), the chances of it being overturned on appeal are much lower than in the US. In Canada, a victorious Plaintiff in a patent infringement case can choose between its damages OR the defendants’ profits from selling the infringed goods, which is what Dow did, thus leading to a higher award. 

The greatest irony of this case, however, is that the very same patent (its US equivalent, to be precise) has been ruled invalid in the US by the Federal Circuit on the basis that its claims were indefinite under the Nautilus doctrine. The same week as the Dow decision but a few days earlier, the Canadian Supreme Court also issued a landmark decision in the AstraZeneca vs. Apotex case, by doing away with the long standing “promise doctrine” whereby an inventor had an additional hurdle to pass before his or her invention could be considered “useful”, which is one requirement for patentability. For a good summary of this case, see here.

So, this goes to show once more that the US legal system has moved in a direction that clearly disfavors patent owners, whereas most other countries recognize the need for a vibrant economy to support a strong patent system. Canada is just the last in line to make that case (actually, almost the same day the UK Supreme Court issued a case that should make proving infringement easier).  Since it is relatively easier to obtain an injunction in Canada than in the US (there is no eBay case there), there is no PTAB to declare your patents invalid at a whim and litigation is much cheaper and much more predictable, it is not a stretch to predict that Canadian patents might encounter a resurgence in popularity (and valuation) in the near term. Canadian courts may come to play a similar role as the German ones have played in the past couple of years which was to essentially “export” a lawsuit to a friendlier legal environment where the threat of an injunctive relief (and now of potentially significant damages) might convince an infringer in the US to come to the table and negotiate a worldwide resolution of the case. It will be interesting to see if NPEs start exploring this model rather than trying their hand in China. It is also significantly more common to find US patent portfolios with Canadian rather than Chinese counterparts, at least for those that were filed 10+ years ago and which comprise the lion's share of what is being litigated nowadays.

Meanwhile, if you need any more proof how poorly the current US patent system protects small inventors, please read the following article relating the saga of the Bunch O Balloons inventors (when you see some of the actors involved, you might want to rename this Bunch O Buffoons case…) . Apparently, anyone but the US judges (who obviously never played water balloon tag) can understand what a balloon “substantially filled with water” means! Although the patent owner keeps winning against Walmart, Telebrand, and other infringers, they are now $17 million deep in legal fees and counting, with no closure in sight. This is why we finally have some Congressmen on Capitol Hill who have had enough with the anti-patent troll narrative and have recently filed the STRONGER Patent Act, as we reported a few weeks ago. Smelling the threat, the large tech companies immediately sprang into action and created the HTIA, yet another advocacy group to support patent reform and finally get rids of “bad patents”.  The HTIA agenda goes further than traditional lobbying on Capitol Hill; it intends to also influence the Courts and the USPTO, continuing the politicization of what should be neutral bodies.
Elsewhere, we saw a few patent transactions reported, such as Apple buying patents from Korean NPE Goldpeak, which had acquired the patents from the Pantech bankruptcy. Not to be left behind, Xiaomi, one of the most active players in the market recently acquired some Nokia patents and the parties announced a wider cross-patent licensing agreement. In market parlance, Nokia received a lot of cash from Xiaomi (who paid to secure freedom to operate) and continued to successfully monetize its large patent portfolio.
For those interested, the whole patent portfolio (about 250 US assets, most of which came from BodyMedia’s acquisition in 2013) of wearable manufacturer Jawbone is now on the block and some early estimates vary between $25-40M, a far cry from valuations of yesteryears and a fraction only of the $100M Jawbone itself paid for BodyMedia just 3 years ago.
Finally, it should be noted that China will soon make public its new IP antitrust policy; companies like Qualcomm who have already been on the receiving end of the antitrust stick in China might not like what lies ahead. After a relatively hands-off approach letting the Chinese IP courts create a fairly positive environment for patent owners regardless of the country of origin, this might be the Chinese government’s way of sending a message to large companies to tread carefully in the future when enforcing their patents on Chinese soil against local companies. Remember, in China the house always wins!

Other news and recently announced deals below…



 Patents and secrets in the chemical industry 
Managing Intellectual Property
Deciding whether to keep proprietary information secret or apply for a patent is a key commercial decision. Leythem Wall and Katherine Banks weigh (more…)    

 Eleventh Hour Settlement in Cialis Patent Suit Clears Path for Generics 
The National Law Journal
That's four to 10 months longer than had been expected based on its patent on the tadalafil compound. In exchange, Lilly is giving up the last 19 (more…)

 Amazon Web Services drops controversial patent clause from standard user agreement 
The clause in the basic user agreement raised a lot of eyebrows back in 2015 after AWS asserted it as a possible defense in a patent lawsuit filed by (more…)

 Jawbone may be dead, but its patent assets could be worth as much as $40 million
One bright spot for those looking to extract some value from the now-defunct business might come from its patent portfolio. According to an analysis (more…)
 Canada Capitulates: Supreme Court Throws Away Government's Great Pharma Patent Victory 
In its claim against the Canadian government, made using NAFTA's Chapter 11, Eli Lilly insisted it should have been given some drug patents, despite (more…)    

 Uniloc continues legal assault against Apple with two new patent suits 
So-called "patent troll" Uniloc added to its quickly growing list of patent infringement lawsuits against Apple on Wednesday, filing two separate actions (more…)

 Stryker awarded $248.7 million in patent case against Zimmer 
(Reuters) - A U.S. judge has increased the amount medical device maker Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc must pay Stryker Corp for infringing patents on  (more…)
 UK Supreme Court adopts new approach to patent infringement 
The Supreme Court has redefined the UK approach to determining patent infringement. In doing so, it has made the approach more permissive, (more…)
 Patent Portfolio Valuations – Importance of IP and Patents 
A strong patent portfolio provides confidence and relative freedom to operate ... Patents have grown from more fancy and honorary pendants to all-out (more…)
 Qualcomm ramps up its patent battle against Apple by asserting six non-SEPs in Section 337 
U.S. Patent No. 8633936, titled Programmable Streaming Processor With Mixed Precision Instruction Execution. It claims a method which involves (more…)    

 Is Congressman Darrell Issa a patent troll? 
“Patent trolls, in my opinion, are the scourge of the patent world,” said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) at a House IP subcommittee hearing on June (more…)
 Broad Institute Joins CRISPR Patent Pool Talks 
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
The patent pool would facilitate the licensing of patents covering CRISPR—which stands for Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic (more…)
 Waymo drops most patent claims in self driving car tech fight with Uber 
Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car division, dropped three of four patent-infringement claims in its lawsuit against Uber over the startup's autonomous (more…)    

 Are Utility Patents Tying Up Innovation With Litigation? 
Greenhouse Grower
That's why the Plant Patent Act of 1930 protects asexually propagated plants from being illegally propagated, and for plants that are patented under (more…)

 Column: How cannabis patents could pave the way for future lawsuit
PBS NewsHour 
As a professor who researches and teaches in the area of patent law, I have been monitoring how private companies are quietly securing these (more…)
 Xiaomi just acquired a bunch of patents from Nokia, will boost its global expansion 
The Indian Express 
Xiaomi Corp has acquired a swathe of patents from Nokia, making its latest acquisition of technology to drive a global expansion. The Chinese (more…)
 Was America's Industrial Revolution Based on Trade Secret Theft? 
Moreover, Britain, like some other European countries, frequently granted “patents of importation,” which didn't require the applicant to be an inventor, (more…)


 OpsArc Solutions Inc. Announces Intellectual Property Acquisition
OpsArc Solutions Inc. announced today that it has entered into a formal Intellectual Property Transfer Agreement with Trimax Americas. OpsArc (more...)

 VERVE Completes Acquisition of Sense Networks’ Software and Intellectual Property Assets from YP, LLC
NEW YORK, July 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Verve™, the global leader in location-powered mobile marketing, today announces its acquisition of both the mobile (more...)

 Apple’s deal with a Korean NPE indicates the patents involved were of very high quality
Jul 16, 2017 - Apple has acquired a group of 11 patents from Korean NPE Goldpeak, according to USPTO assignment records dated 29th June. The transaction, which was completed on 22nd May, involved assets originally owned by Pantech, which was once Korea’s second largest smartphone (more...)

 TiVo Renews Long-term Intellectual Property License with Foxtel
Jul 12, 2017 - Agreement Enables Foxtel to Continue to Deliver the Ultimate Entertainment Discovery Experience to Subscribers in Australia SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– TiVo Corporation (NASDAQ: TIVO), a global leader in entertainment technology and audience (more...)

 Frontier IP Group enters a strategic drug discovery collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline
Jul 4, 2017 - Exscientia Enters Strategic Drug Discovery Collaboration with GSK Pre-clinical collaboration focused on up to 10 targets nominated by GSK Exscientia, an innovative company at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery, is pleased to announce (more...)

Louis Carbonneau, Founder & CEO
IAM World's Leading IP Strategists since 2012

Tangible IP is a strategic IP advisory firm and the global leader in the sale and acquisition of high-quality patents, with a proven track record of over 2000 patents successfully brokered. If you are looking for strategic IP advice or have patents that could be monetized to raise capital or reinvest into your R&D, please contact us at
Recent Events
Mr. Carbonneau attended the annual IP Business Conference in Ottawa, Canada on June 18-20, 2017. 
On April 26, 2017, Mr. Carbonneau was a keynote speaker at the 9th bi-annual edition of FORPIQ conference in Montreal where he talked about Embracing the New IP Reality.  
On May 3, 2017, Mr. Carbonneau spoke at the 2nd Annual Cleantech Summit of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) in Ottawa. SDTC is an independent national public entity that funds Canadian cleantech projects and coaches the companies that lead them as they move their ground-breaking technologies to market. Mr. Carbonneau moderated a panel discussing a national IP strategy for the clean tech industry.  
New Patent Sale Completed
Tangible IP recently closed a patent sale in the field of Critical Notification and Information Management Systems. We have closed on 4 new portfolio sales since the beginning of the year and have more transactions in closing. Look for more public announcements shortly.

New Portfolios for Sale
We have several patent portfolios for sale, most of them with detailed evidence of use (EoU). To see all available portfolios, or to submit patents for a free evaluation, visit our website.
Our services are designed to form the building blocks of a complete IP ecosystem, from due diligence to sophisticated strategic advisory, from valuation to complex sales and IP licensing program. Most services can be procured separately or combined to better fit your needs and minimize duplicate costs. In most cases, you will get valuable insights and strategic tools to create and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage for much less than the price of filing a single patent application.
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Past Newsletters

June 26, 2017
June 19, 2017
June 6, 2017
May 15, 2017
April 30, 2017
April 24, 2017
April 10, 2017
March 31, 2017
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February 3, 2017
December 6, 2016
November 29, 2016
November 22, 2016
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